What do craft beer and vintage arcade games have in common?
Nerds, according to one owner of Fishtown’s recently opened Barcade, the third outpost of the Brooklyn-based drinking establishment-video arcade hybrid. “There are beer nerds and there are video game nerds,” Pete Langway said.
“We’ve found that we get craft beer drinkers who are really passionate. And people that are into arcade games are really passionate about that,” said another owner, Paul Kermizian. “I think we’ve turned one group onto another and there’s actually been a lot of crossover, with gamers turning into beer geeks and vice versa.”
Barcade was launched six years ago by five friends in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood. “We literally opened the bar that the five of us wanted to hang out in because we’re into craft beer and we’re into games,” Kermizian said. “We were taking a chance because it’s not an obvious mix.”
But the concept has taken off, with a Jersey City branch opening in 2010. The long-anticipated Barcade Philadelphia, whose plans were announced in July of last year, is the group’s third establishment.
“Philadelphia was an easy decision because there’s a great beer scene. And Fishtown felt right because there are a lot of already cool, established places and an artsy and working class mix,” said Kermizian.
Fishtown attracts NYCers
Fishtown has a similar vibe to Williamsburg, according to Langway.
“The same kinds of changes are going on and the same kinds of people are living here,” he said. “Both are historically working class neighborhoods where the artists moved in first, bars opened up and young people came for cheaper rent. That covers a lot of our customer base.”
Langway said many, including Barcade owner Scott Beard, are making the move from Brooklyn to Philly.
He noted: “Philadelphia is attractive to people from Brooklyn, where rents are going up. It seems like you get more for your money and the same type of city experience.”